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Happy New Year and welcome to 2020! The end of January and school going back often tends to signal the return to work as we settle in for the year ahead, focused on achieving our newly set new years resolutions. Lose weight, new career, get fit. Did you know that January and February are our busiest months for people making contact with us to change jobs?
Many of us may have spent our holidays reflecting on our career and thinking is this for me? What else is out there? Or what’s next for me? Then we have returned to work and after a few days or a few weeks, we are back in the same old rut. Ground hog day. The thought of the year ahead of the same-same depresses us. Do you know how your employees are feeling? Are they starting to think that it’s time to put the feelers out and explore other opportunities?
Sometimes these feelings can be driven by the post-holiday blues, regardless, if your employees are feeling this way and if they are the employees you want to retain in your business, you can get on the front foot and reduce the chances of losing your best team members.
The first thing to do is start with a one on one catch up. We have weekly one on one catch ups at Inspire HQ and they are really valuable in just chatting with your team member to understand where they are at and how they are feeling. If one on one’s aren’t the norm in your workplace, you don’t want to alarm your employees so ensure you set the scene and let them know you are keen to catch up and discuss the plans for 2020. Provide them with a broad agenda of items for discussion however you don’t want the one on one to be too rigid in following an agenda, it’s about listening to your employee.
The purpose of this meeting is to gather information and gauge how your employee is feeling. Are they at capacity? Do they need a fresh new challenge? Are they keen for a promotion? Are they happy with the status quo? By asking questions this direct you may not get a lot of information back, hence it’s important to invest the time planning your meeting and drafting questions to draw out as much information as possible. You might simply start with what are they enjoying most in their role at the moment and why? Would they like to do more or less of that type of work?
Once you have gathered some useful information and feedback you can then work with your employee to plan the year ahead and set some goals that involve and engage the employee and are aligned with the business goals and objectives.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make as a business owner or manager is to forget to share enough information with our employees on the way forward; the goals and objectives for the business or business unit for the year ahead, both short term and long term. If our team don’t know about the exciting project we are planning or the new contract we hope to pitch for or the new initiative we are looking at launching then they may just think it is ground hog day. I know it can be a fine line between announcing this kind of information to your team; what if it doesn’t go ahead or falls through? You’ll need to juggle what information and how much information to share however the more information you can share the better, in my experience.
You may find that you end up having multiple one on one meetings with team members over a period of time as you start to form a plan for their role for the year ahead. Working through setting goals and considering how you can accommodate their desire to take on more responsibility etc will be an evolving process.
The other important thing to do is to look for the signs. Changes in behaviour, reduced engagement and motivation, lack of energy or enthusiasm may be signs that your employee is starting to check out. I often talk to business owners and managers and they tell me one of their team members is behaving differently, that they have changed. My first question in response is “have you had a chat to them?”
The majority of the time the answer is no. Don’t be afraid to chat with your employee and let them know you have observed some changes, open the door early for a conversation and keep opening the door for a conversation. There may be many reasons for the change in behaviour and having a conversation early on gives you the best chance of helping or supporting that employee. If they are thinking about leaving, having a conversation early on might just give you the best chance of retaining that person in your business or team.
We all have days where we wonder if it’s time for a career change; open communication and regular conversations about the way forward is the best way to ensure you retain your best people in the business even when they do feel like it’s ground hog day from time to time.
Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.